A LEADING businessman is to unveil more details of a plan to turn a Colne Valley village into a regional ‘beacon of entrepreneurship.’
Hartley Group, owners of Globe Mill in Slaithwaite, has called a public meeting for Monday evening when chairman Alan Lewis CBE will outline details of the company’s bold vision for the 125-year-old mill, which closed seven years ago.
Hartley and manufacturing giant 3M have teamed up with Huddersfield University and Kirklees Council to create a new £10m technology centre at the site.
The plan is that the Globe Innovation Centre will take over 54,000 square feet on the top three floors of the refurbished mill building in Bridge Street by the end of this year in a move has been dubbed locally as SiliColne Valley.
The owners also want to attract owners of local businesses, cafes and independent shops to occupy the other two floors.
They hope to emulate the success of Richmond Station in North Yorkshire which houses six artisan food producers, cafes and other heritage attractions and now brings in 350,000 visitors a year.
Huddersfield University is a major partner in the venture and the public meeting will be held at its high-tech 3M Buckley Innovation Centre in Firth Street, Huddersfield.
Spokesman David Brescia, from Hartley’s head office in London, said: “We want to show the people of Slaithwaite what is planned and they will see first hand what these innovation centres look like.
“The Globe will be associated with the Firth Street centre and tenants will be able to access the services in Huddersfield as well. We are hoping it will open before the end of the year, subject to planning.
“We are keen that local businesses become tenants at the Globe and that we retain the charm and cachet of Slaithwaite. We want it to become a destination for locally-grown produce.
“It will really put the village on the map as a regional beacon for innovation technologies as well as artisan food – that is the hope.”
Although the exterior of the landmark building will remain largely untouched, the interior will be fitted out with 21st-century state-of-the-art technology.
Hartley’s plans include a further 150 car parking spaces in the village and a footbridge.
Organisers are hoping that many members of the public will attend the meeting, along with Colne Valley business owners interested in taking on a tenancy at the mill.
The meeting will take place from 6pm to 8pm at the 3M Buckley Innovation Centre in Firth Street.
A free coach is being provided from Slaithwaite by Hartley Group. Anyone wanting a place on the bus should email email@example.com
GLOBE Worsted, founded in 1887, produced high-quality worsted yarns. In the 1960s the firm employed 700 people, but this dropped to 200 by the 1980s.
By 1987 the company was spinning 10 million miles of yarn a year, producing luxury fibres such as alpaca, mohair, angora and camel-hair.
The mill closed seven years ago with the loss of 120 jobs.
Hartley Investment Trust and Group emerged from Yorkshire textile giant Illingworth Morris.
Today, the group has commercial, industrial and residential properties in the UK, Spain and Russia and its natural resource portfolio ranges from natural gas in Louisiana to timber in Russia.
Lancashire-born chairman Alan Lewis CBE is an entrepreneur with considerable business experience. From 1988 to 1990 he was chairman of the CBI Initiative for Europe and he is currently Conservative Party vice-chairman for business relations.
He is also chairman of governors at Kings Science Academy in Bradford, one of the new free schools.